copyright question-- the real reason for the outrage

Subject: copyright question-- the real reason for the outrage
From: Kent Newton <KentN -at- METRIX-INC -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 13:18:00 PST

On Monday, March 11, 1996 8:24 AM, Eric Brown wrote:
>I just don't understand how anyone can get so chippy about letters
>off-the-cuff to a public group. Comparing this to works of art? Accusing
>people of making big bucks off our discussions of gramar and the merits
>HTML? And please don't swamp my e-mail with bleatings of moral outrage.

I think the real reason so many people have raised cain about this issue
is not that we consider our words to be works of are (though some may
have given that impression). Rather, it is that the letters are "written
off-the-cuff" to colleagues. That's fine; we understand that the
letters are written quickly -- often with little or no time for
proofreading or revision -- and (most of us, anyway) don't hold it
against the writer.

However, once those hurried words are displayed on a web page, our names
are associated with jotted notes that may be chock-full of errors in
style, punctuation, grammar, and logic. Who wants his or her name
prominently and publicly associated with an unpolished, off-the-cuff
piece of writing -- especially when that "writing will be available on a
continuing basis, to a wider audience," who may not understand the
conditions under which it was created. Why do you think so few writers
publish their journals or letters while they are still alive?

If we are going to broadcast our words to the world at large, we would
all rather they were our best words and not hurried thoughts jotted down
between compiling an on-line help system and outlining a multi-volume
reference manual.

Of course, those are just my thoughts on the matter. Don't quote me ;-).

Kent Newton
Senior Technical Writer
Metrix, Inc.
kentn -at- metrix-inc -dot- com

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